Monday, 21 December 2020

A Norse Solstice




Good morning and Happy Solstice! I hope you are all having a lovely day wherever you are. It's been a while since I've posted and things have been so busy. Today I wanted to take a moment and share a short story that I wrote for my form drawing class this past weekend. I can never seem to find the exact story I want so I often end up writing my own. I am hoping to share more of these with you all over the coming weeks, months, years. Please feel free to use them in your own classes if you can. 


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A Norse Solstice


The wind blew cold during the dark time of year in Midgard. The people stayed inside where it was warm and safe from the biting cold and inky dark. To help pass the time they would tell stories, sing songs and practice their handcrafts and enjoy their time together.


 It was the time of the year just before winter, known as The Wild Hunt. During this time the god Jolnir would lead his group of hounds and warriors screaming through the night sky. The purpose of this dark evening drama was to drive away the ghosts and spirits who would take advantage of the darkness to roam about the earth unfettered. 


And woe be unto any mortal who was caught outside at night during this frightening time. If the cold and hunger did not do them in they might just keel over from fright at the sight of the Wild Hunt. Thankfully, however, the laws of hospitality were adhered to more at this time of year than any other. Showing someone hospitality this time of year, giving them some hot soup to fill their bellies or a warm coat to cover their shoulders or a soft bed to rest their weary head would often mean the difference between life and death.  Jolnir was already busy sending the wandering spirits outside to the afterlife. No need to make more work for him by creating another angry spirit.


While conditions were cold and dark above ground in Midgard, below ground in Alfheim it was warm and bright and busy. The elves and dwarves who lived there spent the dark part of the year tinkering and carving and making lovely little toys and delicious candies at Jolnir’s request. They knew that the night before the Wild Hunt was to end on December 21st, the night of the Winter Solstice, Jolnir would make his appearance to come and gather up all the toys. They were always amazed when they saw him as he was quite a sight to behold clad in his red leather pants and a fur trimmed jacket which served to keep out the cold during his nightly rides. 


Now for most of the Wild Hunt Jolnir’s purpose was to terrify the wandering spirits, but Jolnir always felt bad about terrifying the mortals in Midgard. To make it up to them, at the end of the Wild Hunt, he would gather up all the toys and candies that residents of Alfheim had so graciously made and make one last flight through the night skies on his 8 legged steed. 


On that night, the night of the solstice, the children down on the earth in Midgard would leave their boots on the hearth beside the fire before they went to bed. Their boots would be filled with hay and carrots for the eight legged steed. They would then snuggle into their beds to sleep the night away. Sometime during the night Jolnir would slip down the chimney and leave the beautiful gifts and sweets behind. 


Morning would then come, the children’s eyes wide with wonder at all the lovely things that Jolnir brought them. The next night would be quiet, the Wild Hunt finally over for the year. And over the next several weeks the sun would come back and the world would be lovely and bright once again. 


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